Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky Holds Its Sixth Chinese Speech Competition for Elementary and High School Students

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky [Time]    2018-05-07 08:44:27 

On April 21st, local time, the Sixth Chinese Speech Competition for Elementary and High School Students was held by the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky. 71 contestants from twenty-three schools in Kentucky respectively participated in the competition by 3 level groups: elementary, junior high and senior high schools.

More than 300 people gathered for this annual “Chinese Language Carnival”, including Steve Kay, Vice Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, Christel Broady, President of the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission of Lexington and Member of the Board of Directors of International English Language Program, Mike Stacy, Director of the Independent School in Beachwood school district, Laura Roche Youngworth, World Language Consultant for Fayette County Public Schools, Susan Roberts, Associate Provost for Internationalization at the University of Kentucky, and local students with their parents.

The competition consisted of two parts: preliminary and final. The contestants were not Chinese-American students in Kentucky. They have been learning Chinese for six months or up to five years. The youngest contestant was only seven years old. The topics for the first round were “my school”, “my family”, “I like to speak Chinese” and so on. After intense competition, 12 out of the 71 contestants entered the final.

Lyra Penny, a student from Morgan County High School, attending the competition in a traditional Chinese costume

The audience

At the final, Xiu Huajing (Huajing Maske), Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute, Susan Roberts and Steve Kay, delivered their respective speeches. Xiu expressed her sincere thanks to all Kentucky representatives from all sectors for their support in the development of the Chinese programs. She also gave credit to Chinese teachers for their contributions to promoting “global vision” learning and international education in Kentucky primary and secondary schools. She also introduced to parents present other programs for Kentucky elementary and secondary schools initiated by the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky.

In her speech, Susan Roberts pointed out that it is a right thing to encourage students to learn a difficult language. As human communication is based on language structure, young students can acquire a language cross-culturally.

Steve Kay, in his speech, affirmed the contribution of the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky to promoting diversified community development.

Steve Kay delivering a speech

The final was divided into two sessions: impromptu speech and Q&A. The contestants’ varied speech topics included self-introduction, hobbies, food customs etc. Some of them even creatively designed their speeches in the form of Allegro.

Molly Clemence, a student from Beachwood Elementary School, in the final for the elementary school group

During the Q&A session, contestants randomly picked their questions displayed with pictures on screen. Their calm performance and fluent answers won cheers from the audience.

Anderson Kidney from the primary school group answering a question

After the judges’ careful appraisal, Kara Mays from Morgan County High School, Abjaron CJ from Morgan County Middle School and Zoe Washington from Tates Creek Elementary School, were awarded respectively the first prize in high, middle and elementary groups.

Kara Mays, first prize winner in the senior high school group

Susan Roberts awarding Zoe Washington, first prize winner in the elementary school group

“I participated in the Chinese Speech Competition held by the Confucius Institute last year and the year before, but it was too bad I didn’t get any awards.” Zoe Washington said excitedly. “This year I finally made it! I’m very happy I won the first prize!” She expressed her hope to work at the Confucius Institute at the University of Kentucky when she grew up in the future.

Steve Kay awarding the contestants souvenirs

Guests and judges

The annual Chinese speech competition shows Chinese proficiency of Kentucky elementary and secondary school students. The success of the competition arouses the students’ interest and enthusiasm in learning Chinese, and entertains their parents with the unique charm of the Chinese language and culture.

Story by Zhang Danhua, photos by Jin Yixuan